RA President: Different countries choose different forms of application of the Lanzarote Convention
RA President Armen Sarkissian received an education expert Anahit Bakhshyan, who addressed an open letter to the president, expressing her concern about the Lanzarote Convention, ratified by the National Assembly.
According to the presidential press service, before touching on the main topic, Armen Sarkissian once again mentioned the coronavirus epidemic, again urging citizens to be vigilant and comply with all necessary regulations. "I feel obliged to use this opportunity, to once again appeal to all our compatriots, calling to abide by all the rules of social distance. I do not want any of our compatriots to think that if 10 or less people die on a day, this can be considered a normal life. This is not ordinary. This is a great tragedy. Imagine that 5, 10, 15 families have lost their relatives. I would like to take this opportunity to express my condolences to them. We must be very careful, very principled and disciplined, we must do everything that is required of us, and even more, "the President said, thanking the doctors for their hard and dedicated work." I want to once again thank our doctors. No matter what happens, today we know that they work day and night, endangering their lives and the safety of their families. Hospitals should be considered as bastions and castles. I express my deep gratitude to all the doctors, from chief doctors to attendants, paramedics, orderlies. You are our heroes today, "the President said.
Speaking about the Lanzarote Convention, Armen Sarkissian first of all noted that he has some concerns. Regarding the issue of signing or not signing the convention, the President introduced the legal process, noting that after ratification by the National Assembly, the President of the Republic adopts not the Convention itself but the law adopted by the National Assembly, and has very limited powers. The President has two options- the first is to appeal to the Constitutional Court if there is a conflict with the Constitution. However, given that the Constitutional Court has already stated that there is no contradiction, the President has only the second option - to sign the ratified document. Moreover, if it is not signed by the President, it will be signed by the President of the National Assembly within a few days and take effect. "You can consider the Convention as international law or a declaration of principles. After the adoption of the Convention, any country accepts it as a principle. However, there is a huge path from principle to application. It is interesting what will happen in 10 months, 10 years. I share the general concern. I think , that the most important question is whether, as before, in some cases we will have so-called emotional outbursts, calls, or in a few days we will forget about further discussions. This really requires the attention of all our people. We are talking about our children, their health, protection, education. I not only share your concern, but I can say that my concern is even greater. The President noted that different countries choose different forms of application of the Convention. Each country has the right to interpret the principles in its own way and apply them in its own way. There are countries that practice in several schools, there are countries that involve parents in these processes, there are countries that start education at different ages, " Armen Sarkissian said.
He added that no matter how universal the principles are, there are national and cultural pecualrities that each country takes into account when applying the Convention. The President considers the ratification of the Convention only the beginning of the process, followed by public discussions on the adoption of the necessary acts, and these acts, taking into account our national values, should establish the necessary rules that provide answers to a number of important questions. "There are some fundamental problems. First of all, issues related to violence that need to be eliminated," the President of the republic said. He noted that this was a sensitive issue. "Our culture is such that people often prefer to hide. But even if they don't hide, if the child has been abused, which is a huge misfortune, we must be very careful about everything. If violence initiates a lawsuit, it's necessary to create mechanisms so that the child does nut become subject of additional stress. Therefore, in addition to eliminating violence, laws, rules and mechanisms are necessary so that the child does not experience all this. Therefore, we have many problems with violence that we still have to solve, "the President said, highlighting the principles of education in this context.
To recall, on May 11, the National Assembly of Armenia ratified the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (Lanzarote Convention). Convention aims to prevent the sexual exploitation and use of sexual violence against children, as well as to protect victims, organize a proper investigation. It provides for the introduction of criminal liability for the deliberate commission of crimes against children. The document also provides for the implementation in the country of collecting DNA from persons who committed such a crime, which will create an integrated data exchange system. The Deputy Minister of Justice of Armenia Kristine Grigoryan previously stated that in the first half of 2019, 209 criminal cases were investigated in the country about crimes against children, of which 51 were related to crimes of a sexual nature. After ratification of this convention, the country undertakes to take legal or other measures that will provide protection in areas where there is close contact with children.